Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program Alumni
Summer Class of 2018
Dog Tag Inc. Alumni represent a sample of the talent and drive that exists in the veteran community. Our fellowship serves as an incubator for employment and small business development, giving our fellows the space and time to define what success means for them, and empowering them with tools and resources to achieve it for themselves.
Lori Ankabrandt was born and raised in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and received her undergraduate degree in Business Logistics from Pennsylvania State University. Lori retired from the Army after twenty years of service as a Logistics Officer. She oversaw the 3rd Infantry Division’s logistical operations during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and commanded a Ground Maintenance Company in Iraq in 2005. Lori also served as Executive Officer to a Polish Air Force officer responsible for equipping the Afghan National Security Forces.
The Army provided Lori with a purpose to protect and defend. She wants to continue to be of service and worries that homebound individuals may be marginalized and left behind in our society. Lori believes starting an organization that provides these individuals with holistic health care may allow them to develop a relationship with their body and a sense of empowerment in the healing process. She hopes Dog Tag Inc. will impart the knowledge and skills to sustain and grow a successful non-profit.
Lori’s favorite baked good is a Snickerdoodle. It brings back fond memories of time spent in the kitchen with her grandmother, and reminds her of the care packages sent to her while deployed.
Gabriela Bell grew up all over the US, including Honolulu, Hawaii, Monterey, California, and Tampa, Florida, all of which hold special memories for her. She earned a B.S. in Education (Mathematics) from Baylor University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Touro University International.
Gabi is an Air Force spouse to a service member currently serving overseas. She is also the daughter of a retired Air Force officer and F-4 navigator, the granddaughter of a WWII Air Force officer who fought in the Pacific, and another WWII veteran who served in the Normandy Invasion.
Being a good role model for her four children––three who have special needs––is a top priority for Gabi. As a mother who gave up her career to support her family, she believes it is important for her children to see that their mother is as capable as their father. Gabi would like to build a network of professionals that help families who are suffering due to mental illness and/or addiction. Helping families create strong bonds with a healthy home and work life balance is important to her future goals. Gabi’s favorite dessert is a decedent crème brûlée.
Shannon Brady was born in North Dakota, but raised in South Dakota and Northern California. She received her undergraduate degree in Health Education from Ellis College and her Masters of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management from Trident University.
Shannon served twenty-two years in the Army. The first thirteen were in the Signal Corps, where she held positions ranging from Team Leader to Technical Control Noncommissioned Officer. The next nine years were with the Military Corp as an Operations Coordinator to Defense Attaché Offices in U.S. Embassies.
At the young age of three, Shannon’s love of baking started while assisting her grandmother. She continued baking throughout her military service wherever she served––South Korea, the Netherlands, Jordan, Chad, Ukraine or the United States.
After a traumatic brain injury in Ukraine, Shannon was sent to the Warrior Transition Unit at Walter Reed Medical Center. There she learned of Dog Tag Inc., and immediately knew she had to be involved. She is most excited about learning the various tools and fundamentals needed to become a successful business owner, in order to start and operate her own prosperous bakery. Shannon’s favorite baked good is a great Kouign-amann.
Christopher Cosgrove was born in California and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Law, and Society from George Mason University and studied music extensively at the College of Southern Nevada. Chris has experience teaching and performing in Las Vegas and the D.C. area as a vocalist, guitarist, and opera singer.
Since becoming a Marine Corps spouse, Chris has supported military and veteran communities by volunteering for a variety of programs. He first learned about Dog Tag Inc. at an Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) performance for Canine Connection. Chris was inspired by the opportunity to learn valuable business skills, while also having the chance to give back to the military community. Now, as an expectant father, Chris hopes to utilize the experience from the Dog Tag Fellowship and his skills in music to start a business that will support his military family as well as the veteran community. Chris enjoys baking bread, of which his favorite is sourdough bread.
Deborah Elliott was born into an Air Force Family in Warrensburg, Missouri. She moved around a bit during her childhood, mostly in Ohio and Illinois, but the three years she spent in Izmir, Turkey were among her favorite. Deb has earned both an Associate’s degree in Arts and Sciences from Southwestern Illinois College, and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from East Carolina University.
Deb met her Marine Corps husband in Illinois and moved to Cherry Point, North Carolina. While there, she volunteered at the base thrift store and with activities at the spouse’s club. During a nine-month deployment, her husband became very ill. After initial misdiagnoses led to his illness worsening, he was eventually declared undeployable, and medically retired.
Being a mother of two and caregiver has left Deb little time for personal and professional growth. Through the Dog Tag Fellowship, Deb hopes to gain the entrepreneurial experience necessary to start her own business as a professional organizer. She would also like to assist her husband in setting up a ceramics store, where he and other disabled veterans could exhibit and sell their art therapy creations. Her favorite baked good is a basic chocolate chip cookie…hold the chocolate.
Tara Eyvette Grant was born and raised near Charleston, South Carolina. She received two years of higher education at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and then joined the U.S. Army in order to use the G.I. Bill to assist her in completing her education. After twenty-five years in the Army, Tara graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from Stratford University. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management concentrating on Hotel and Restaurant Management at Stratford as well, with an expected graduation in December 2018.
Tara joined the Army in 1989 as an Automatic Switching Systems Operator/Maintainer, and spent her military career working with telephone and computer systems.
Tara hopes to gain the practical knowledge and experience to bring her dream of owning her own restaurant and catering company into reality. She is very excited about this upcoming adventure and looks forward to all it encompasses. Her favorite baked good is peach cobbler.
Rebecca is a native of Durham, North Carolina. However, a desire to travel and see the world led her to commission in the Air Force after earning her B.S. in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She lived six years in Tokyo and Okinawa where she explored East Asia and the Pacific, delighting in new foods and adventures. She went on to get her Masters of Arts from Webster University in International Relations and deployed to Macedonia and Qatar.
During Rebecca’s twenty-three years on active duty, she served as a nurse and leader in many diverse settings––from the hospital, to all aspects of aeromedical evacuation and global patient movement. In her last two assignments, she had the unique honor to be an Inspector General.
Rebecca hopes to gain a transformative education in small business operations through the Dog Tag Fellowship, in preparation for this new chapter in her life. She is passionate about holistic health, practicing yoga (she is now an instructor), meditation, and preparing nutrient dense foods. Oh, and flourless chocolate brownies are her favorite baked good--they’re nutritious and delicious!
Thomas Jeremy (TJ) Pettigrew was born in Miles City, Montana, but has lived many places as the son of an Army veteran––including several memorable years in Germany during elementary school. Two years after graduating from high school, TJ enlisted in the Army. As an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division, he did four tours of duty in a five-year period. TJ is also a proud father of three children.
TJ thinks Dog Tag will be a great way to change his life, and hopes the Fellowship program will give him the skills and knowledge that he will need to pursue his goals. While he is open to new ideas, he wants to be able to open his own food truck.
His favorite baked good is an apple cider donut!
Originally from Enterprise, Mississippi, Erinn was commissioned in ROTC at Alcorn State University where she also received her B.S. in Chemistry/Pre-Medicine.
Erinn served in the US Army for twenty-four years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Her assignments included locations in Texas, South Korea, Missouri, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and deployments to Afghanistan and Kuwait. Her positions ranged from Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Company Commander, Personnel Management Division Chief, Brigade S1, Command Inspector General, and Secretary-Recorder.
Prior to retirement, Erinn founded her dessert business, Ms. Jo's Petite Sweets, LLC––naming it after her late mother, who always taught her to enjoy life’s sweetest moments. Erinn appreciates Dog Tag’s commitment to her fellow veterans and looks forward to learning all aspects of business ownership to utilize at her dessert business when she moves to a brick and mortar location. Erinn’s favorite desserts are pecan pie and peach cobbler. #LifeIsSweet #HaveATreat
Craig Smith was born and raised in New Jersey. After high school, Craig went to Stockton State College to study Liberal Arts for a year. He then decided to enlist in the Marine Corps as a Military Policeman for three years, and was stationed in the North East. Craig then enlisted in the Navy as a Corpsman and did several tours as an Emergency Medical Tech and Radiography Tech throughout the US and Europe, as well as several deployments to Asia and the Middle East for nineteen years. He has traveled through fifty-eight countries on six continents––both with the military and on his own.
Craig currently runs his own real estate business, and saw the Dog Tag Fellowship as a great opportunity to challenge himself and improve upon his small business. He plans to obtain the skills and know-how in order to become a successful entrepreneur and provide housing for low income individuals, primarily in the Washington, DC area.
Craig’s favorite baked good is carrot cake.
Michelle Stewart was born in San Diego, California but has spent most of her adult life in New York (when not on military assignments). She earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Long Island University. She is married with two adult sons, and has also raised her sister’s children after her sister fought and lost a long battle with Huntington’s disease at the age of 40.
Michelle served in the Army for more than twenty-five years as a medic. She ran the operation room, treatment clinics, and the medical readiness area. She also oversaw medic training and operations for deploying soldiers. Michelle was stationed overseas in Korea and was also deployed to Kuwait, where she was in two vehicle accidents. Those accidents caused her to suffer back, neck, and traumatic brain injuries. She recently retired as a Sergeant First Class.
Michelle’s plan after completing the Dog Tag Fellowship is to own her own restaurant and grow her independent record label. She wants to learn successful marketing techniques, great networking skills, grant writing, and much more from this opportunity. Her favorite dessert is banana nut bread.
Born in California, and raised in Montana, Seldon Warner entered the Army in June 2010 after one year at the University of New Mexico. He joined as an Airborne Infantryman and rose through the ranks to Staff Sergeant before being medically retired in December 2017. During those seven and half years, Seldon was deployed to Afghanistan, conducted training missions in Europe, and was in Alpha Company’s firing party at the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard.
During his deployment, Seldon was struck by a rocket attack, which did not leave any outward injuries. With limited resources to address the internal injuries that Seldon was dealing with, he was medically retired.
Having recently completed his Associates Degree in Applied Health Science through American Military University, Seldon comes to Dog Tag Inc. (after seeing the experience his wife had in the program) with plans to start an organization to transform homes. His goal is to make homes ready for VA home inspection and affordable to other veterans. Dog Tag Inc. will give him the skills and direction to make this dream happen. Seldon has a hard time deciding on just one favorite baked good, but brownies are in the lead for now.